Important Advice for Dog Owners from the Wildlife Trust

On Wildlife Trust nature reserves dogs are required to be kept on leads or under strict control at all times and especially during the breeding season (March – August). This primarily helps to protect ground nesting birds, vulnerable wild mammal populations and prevent any disturbance to grazing animals.

There are other important reasons for keeping dogs on leads that owners need to be aware of. Some of which are as follows:

  • One is able to see when a dog defecates and therefore bag it and bin it. If not removed, areas of high defecation can cause damage to fragile and complex habitats and transmit disease and pathogens.

  • Dog mess can cause possible blindness to reserve workers if any were to enter their eyes when strimming paths. It is also a health hazard to other members of the public, especially children.

  • Not everyone is fond of dogs and some have severe phobias. Other reserve users can feel extremely uncomfortable when a dog runs up to them even though the dog may be friendly and harmless.

  • Small children are especially in danger from loose dogs, ranging from simply being knocked down by an enthusiastic dog to being bitten or seriously harmed.

  • Dogs off lead decrease the number and diversity of wildlife near footpaths. Many people come to reserves to see the wildlife that live in these protected areas, so their enjoyment is directly diminished.

Some conservation organisations do not allow dogs on their reserves.  We require the understanding and respect from all our dog walkers to keep their dogs on leads and follow the country-side code so that we may continue to welcome dogs to our nature reserves. Thank you for your cooperation.